A Single Man

DRAMA; 1hr 39min

STARRING: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode

Lonely hearts: Firth and Moore

Followers of Tom Ford’s fashion career would probably wager that his debut film would be as carefully handled as his star-making designs. And so it is: Ford co-wrote, produced and directed A Single Man — based on the 1964 Christopher Isherwood novel — with an artist’s eye, especially in his choice of the reliably eloquent Firth as heartbroken Los Angeles–based English professor George Falconer. George is a 52-year-old gay man in a politically touchy 1962 with a newly dead long-term partner (Goode) and a waning desire to stay alive until the end of the day, even as he gradually acknowledges how uniquely precious life is; Moore is a naked flame as his boozy best friend.


Cinematographer Eduard Grau makes much of moody close-ups in a smoky, oppressive palette that highlights George’s alienation and despair, and slowly warms as he does. The Look is clearly key to Ford and every frame is polished. Yet as the credits rolled on a sucker-punch finale, I wondered if the downer trip had been worth the ticket.